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File:Maria falconetti the passion of joan of arc 6 6255.jpg

A classic silent film from 1928, by Carl Theodore Dreyer. Generally claimed to have one of the greatest filmed performances ever, given by Maria Falconetti. Her prior work was in light stage comedies and she never made another film.

Joan of Arc is put on trial by the English. They attempt to get her to back down from her claims of holy visions. She refuses, and is eventually burned at the stake.

You can find it on YouTube, but if you can, shell out the cash for the DVD or seek it out on cable. The current version is only 82 minutes, but be sure to mark out two full hours on your PDA; odds are you'll need some quiet time after.

Tropes used in The Passion of Joan of Arc include:
  • Corrupt Church: The Bishop of Beauvais.
  • Dutch Angle
  • Hey, It's That Guy!: Antonin Artaud, theatre theorist extraordinaire, as Jean Massieu, one of the Bishops/Judges.
  • Last Place You Look: The original negative was destroyed in a fire, and Dreyer died in 1968 thinking it was lost forever. Fast forward to 1981, when a nearly pristine copy was discovered in a closet in a Norwegian insane asylum of all places. What's more, it was delicate nitrate stock in a sealed can; if whoever discovered it had opened it up when they found it instead of calling in experts, it likely would have literally gone up in smoke then and there.
  • The Late Middle Ages
  • Lost Forever: Very narrowly averted.
  • One Film Actor: Lead actress Maria Falconetti came from the stage to deliver one of cinema's most celebrated performances, then quit the film industry.
    • Actually, she had already appeared on one film, La Comtesse de Somerive, but The Passion still was the last film she appeared in.
  • Shown Their Work: The dialogue is all the actual court records of what Joan of Arc is known to have said at her trial. She's amazing.
  • Traumatic Haircut: Joan's hair is cropped to stubble on-camera. It counts as a real-life example too, as Falconetti apparently begged Dreyer not to have to do it.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: It's not stated in the dialogue -- it's all in Joan's face when the priest asks her who taught her how to say her prayers, and she answers, "My mother."
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